How to Find the Right Vendor for Hotel Menu Ordering Systems? [Complete Guide 2022]
We are in the middle of a shift from printed traditional menus to hotel menu ordering systems. These systems became so popular that they have even become the "lifeline" for many establishments to reduce human interaction during the pandemic.
Although many thought it was a fad that would go away after the pandemic. The ordering platforms have proven to be a sustainable investment, as they increase guests' likelihood to order in-room service and improve the average tab.
But when it comes to finding hotel order systems, it's a pretty arduous process - because there are a series of factors that you'll need to consider. So, we've created a brief guide that'll help you in the process.
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What Is a Hotel Menu Ordering System?
A hotel order taking system enables guests to independently place an order from the restaurant, lobby, or even in their room by using a digital menu. The menu can be accessed by scanning a QR code on signage or at the table using their mobile device.
The system generally has two components - a front-end system (used by guests) and an admin interface (for employees). The front-end system contains a digital menu, including a list of all food and beverage items in an outlet, descriptions of them, and eye-catching images.
The back-end software is used for staff to set up/configure the menu. Including managing the list of food items, inventory, an overview of orders, and access to sales data reports are just some examples.
What Are the Benefits of Menu Ordering Systems?
Hotel food ordering apps were a “lifeline” for many establishments, as they decreased unnecessary human contact and made it more convenient for customers to order food. Let's take a closer look at why it could be worthwhile for your business to adopt an ordering system.
1. Increase the Order Accuracy
Let's be honest. It's common to misunderstand orders. Whether it's the fault of the employee or miscommunication from the guests - we'll leave that up to you to decide. But one thing is certain: wrong orders can lead to food waste and frustrated customers.
One of the benefits of smart self ordering system in restaurant is that the guests have their own control. They'll be able to browse through the menu, select the quantity, and note down their dietary restrictions or allergies by themselves. This minimizes the risk of mix-ups.
2. Raise the Average Check Size
Probably every person who has stood in line at a McDonald's has felt the pressure of wrapping up their order fast. Naturally, we all feel under pressure when there is a line of people waiting for us. Relieving your guests from the pressure of ordering will allow them to spend more time browsing through the menu, compared to what they would have done had your employees taken the order.
They'll be able to browse through all menu items, explore your exciting discounts, and be more inclined to add those extra fries to elevate their meal.
3. Collect Key Sales Data
Another benefit of digitalizing the ordering process is access to customer data. These systems are great at collecting such information and can provide you with unique insight into some of the most important metrics that could help your business grow.
For example, it can give you insights about the number of items that have been sold, average check size, and peak hours statistics so that you can optimize your menu and operations.
4. Improve Operational Efficiency
Fast-food chains have been quick to take advantage of the digital menu ordering system because it helps them reduce the burden placed on their staff. By implementing a self-ordering system, your property can automate mundane tasks, save money and increase its profitability by letting guests order for themselves.
5. Enhance the Guest Experience
Last, but not least. These systems can create better guest experiences. How? Well, for starters, it's much more convenient to order room service independently - rather than having to call someone to do it.
Secondly, some vendors (like us at Metasphere) have added other functionalities to the web-based platform. Our clients can essentially use it as a digital room directory and add important information like FAQs, facility information, order housekeeping services, and more.
Image: Infographics from Mvix Digital Signage
What Are the Disadvantages of Menu Ordering Systems?
Unfortunately, every coin has two sides. On the surface, hotel order taking system seems like an easy way for restaurants to automate their ordering process and reduce errors in their customer service. But before you buy this software, be aware of these disadvantages/risks:
1. You risk losing the “human touch”
If you're in the upper segment of establishments, your service might be one of your points of differentiation. Digitalizing too many aspects of your operations may conflict with the guest’s expectations of the service on your property.
2. Costly and time-consuming process for POS integration
The process of integrating a digital hotel menu ordering solution into your existing POS may be tricky. Especially if you are using a legacy system. But in many cases, it's not necessary to integrate the solution into your existing POS. Check out our recent PMS interface blog if you want to learn more about integrations.
3. The complexity of the back-end system
Some vendors will design the user experience (UX) for the front-end application that your guests interact with very well. But very few will spend a lot of time thinking about the back-end system. As a result, it might be complicated for your employees to set up or monitor menu items.
Things You Need to Consider When Selecting a Hotel Menu Ordering System
While hotel menu ordering systems are a great way to streamline your operations, the most important factor is that the system will add value to your operations. We’ve highlighted some of the major factors below to consider when you're looking for vendors.
Integration with your restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system
Adding a POS integration will make the back-end ordering flow more accurate, as orders are automatically routed to the kitchen using your existing system. But keep in mind that as it's the case with every interface, it’ll be costlier and require more effort from you.
Back-end software functionalities
When it comes to the software managed by employees, you’ll want to ensure that it is easy to set up the digital menu. Other functionalities that are good to have include an order tracking system with real-time visibility (for managing orders), sales data and reports to support business decisions and an inventory tracker.
The system will likely be one of the cheaper technologies you'll purchase. But having said that, the pricing can differ from vendors. Some will even take commissions per order - and this can add up in the long term. It's always wise to contact multiple vendors and ask for pricing quotes. Keep an eye on the implementation (system connectivity costs) and maintenance costs!
Another factor to consider is the design/aesthetics. Take a closer look at the front-end system (as your customers will use it). Is the software easy to navigate, intuitive, and does it reflect your brand identity? After all, the ordering process should be made simpler with the system, not harder.
Ordering process workflow
The ordering process in the system must be made simple. Naturally, the system should be able to be handled by a Millennial, as much as an elderly person who is not so techy. Otherwise, your staff members will end up spending time helping your guests with ordering.
App- or web-based platform
Certain providers offer a menu ordering app and will require your guest to download it via Appstore or Google Play. These apps often come with more functionalities, such as in-house information and the ability to chat with your employees. Whereas others are web-based, these have simplified functionalities but can be easily accessed by guests using a QR-code scanner.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section below will provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding order platforms.
Why Ordering System Is Important?
The hotel food ordering app proved to be a lifeline for many businesses amid the pandemic because it reduced unnecessary human interaction. Looking ahead, the system is still very much relevant to hospitality establishments because it has proven to increase customer satisfaction, increase average tab sizes, and help hoteliers reduce operating costs.
How Does a Restaurant Order System Work?
Although, the workflow of the system can vary depending on the vendor. In general, it consists of a QR-code scanning tracker system that the guest uses to access a digital menu and a front-end platform that displays a digital version of the restaurant's menu and enables the guest to order food and beverages. As well as a backend software for management to take and manage orders.
How Do You Implement an Ordering System?
The integration process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several working days, depending on the complexity of integrating the software into your operations. It will largely depend upon whether you want to integrate it into your point-of-sale system.
Conclusion: Hotel Menu Ordering System: Finding the Right Vendor for Room Service
When it comes to hotel menu ordering systems, it is clear they are here to stay. While they may not play a role as critical as they did during the worst times of the pandemic, these systems are relatively cheap and can still play a crucial role.
But finding the right vendor for your property is difficult as there are a lot of factors to consider. Some of these include:
Potential integration to your restaurant's POS.
Functionalities in the back-end software (i.e., tracking system, sales data, etc.)
Costs (integration, potential commission fees, maintenance fees, etc.)
The UX- design of both the front-end and back-end system.
How easy and seamless the ordering process is for your guests.
Whether it's an app-based platform (which requires guests to download it through the App Store or Google Play) or a web-based platform (often accessed by scanning a QR code),
We hope that you found this article helpful and insightful. Metasphere has developed a complete contactless room service solution that comes with a UX-friendly front-end ordering system for guests, and back-end software for managing menus and keeping track of orders. If you would like to learn more about our system, schedule a free demo on the link below.